Alley Outtake: A Motley Collection

In the winter, when our hikes are urban instead of in the woods, we sometimes change it up by walking the alleys instead of the streets. Here’s a motley collection of typical Eugene-mobiles parked by these alley houses.


First up is this gen1 Saturn SL2. These are finally getting scarce on the ground. There’s no doubt that these Saturns were able to rack up some pretty impressive miles. One of the more amusing things here has been the persistent inability of some readers to understand that just because I called Saturn a Deadly Sin (GM lost some $12 billion on it) does not mean that the cars were.

That’s not to say that I was ever enamored of the cars, as I thought they came off rather crude and cheap compared to the Honda Civic, which was the benchmark for the original Saturn. Of course, that was a moving target, as Honda sent us a new Civic every four years back then, with ever greater refinement.

Might this Saturn be experiencing some old age infirmities? The unlatched hood suggests that possibility.

Just another Subaru wagon, from back in the days when Subies were bought by granola-crunching folks wearing Birkenstocks in Oregon, Vermont and Colorado. Now it’s been the fastest-growing brand for the past decade or so, and is getting to be very mainstream.


I think it says “Loyale” on its rear door, which means it’s one of the later years of this body style, after the new Legacy came out.


I think I may have shared this ’82 Datsun 810 Maxima with you. But it’s worth a second glance, as these have become distinctly rare. But there’s a Maxima diesel wagon of this generation I shot and wrote up almost ten years ago and I just saw it in traffic the other day.


Quite the contrast to today’s Maxima.


That goes for the interior too.


Japanese brougham.


I’ll have to go down this alley again this coming winter and see how many of these are still there.